According to the Globe & Mail’s Alexandra Gill 2017 was a slow year for new restaurant openings – but not for Kitsilano.
While Gill’s top 10 list of new restaurants is dominated by enterprises that are owned by multi-unit groups rather than independents, in Kitsilano that is not the case.
Not one, but two Kitsilano eateries were tagged made the top 10.
Oddfish | 1889 West 1st Avenue | 604-564-6330 | oddfishrestaurant.com
For a city anchored on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is curiously lacking in simply prepared seafood of the non-Asian variety. Oddfish fills the deep chasm between cheap fish and chips and top-tier fancy with a singular devotion to fresh, Mediterranean-inspired fruits of the sea. Channelling the cheerful neighbourhood vibe of its sibling restaurants, Nook and Tavola, the Kitsilano cubbyhole is tightly squeezed around a lively bar and open kitchen. The daily-changing chalkboard catch is charred, seared or steamed on a sizzling plancha grill and lightly treated with squeezes of lemon, fistfuls of herbs and glugs of good olive oil. Whole seabass and the huge “hot mess” platter are must-try mainstays. Idiosyncratic wines, homey desserts and exceptionally friendly service will have you falling hook, line and sinker for this essential, yet extraordinary dining experience.
Mak N Ming | 1629 Yew Street | 604-737-1155 | maknming.com
It takes audacity to open a 26-seat temple to Michelin-style fine dining on Vancouver’s rowdiest, beachside beer-patio stroll. To make it work requires even greater talent, which husband-and-wife partners Makoto Ono and Amanda Cheng have in spades. A laser-focused duo of seasonal tasting menus (one, a six-course chef’s dégustation; the other, a three-course demi) seemed smartly suited to the tiny modernist room cast in raw concrete, warm wood and stretched leather. And the menus offered a sharp canvas for Mr. Ono’s graceful distillations of Japanese and French cuisines. His small bites plated with the precision of a jeweller setting gemstones – diminutive éclairs spread with salted cod and snappy salmon roe, tamago-style egg crepes draped in silky sabayon – often send shudders up the spine. Generously supported by Roger Maniwa’s nervy wine and sake pairings and Ms. Cheng’s more luxuriant dessert courses, Mak N Ming earned rave reviews, including mine. But this tight two-menu template also requires unwavering consistency (there is no room for a big slab of dried-out pork as a main course) or excuse for repetition (seven months later, the same Humboldt squid and rutabaga appetizer is being served). The demi menu, unfortunately, is already beginning to taste like a throwaway.
Last modified: December 10, 2017